British Sports Hall of Fame 1932: Woolf Barnato, David Burghley, Jumbo Edwards and Jonty Parkin

My choices for the British Sports Hall of Fame in 1932:

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Woolf Barnato (Motor Racing) – winner of the Le Mans 24 hour race each year from 1928 to 1930, the only times he entered the race. He drove a Bentley to victory on each occasion and was a leading member of a group of drivers known as the “Bentley Boys”. He also acquired the Bentley company with the money he had from the family fortune in South African diamond mining. He won many races at Brooklands and set a 24 hour distance record for a 3 litre engined car. He also manged to drive a car from Cannes to Calais more quickly than the train made the journey.

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David Burghley (Athletics) – winner of the Olympic gold for the 400m hurdles in 1928 and Empire Games champion in 1930 at 440 yards hurdles where he was part of the gold medal winning 4 x 440 yards relay team. At the 1932 Olympics he was 4th in the 400m hurdles and won silver in the relay. He was a fine sprint hurdler as well and held British records at every hurdles event. He won eight AAA titles at hurdles events. After his days of competing were over he became chairman of the British Olympic Association and the IAAF. the famous incident of the race around the quad featured in the film “Chariots of Fire” is in reality based on his achievement.


Jumbo Edwards (Rowing) – winner of two gold medals in the 1932 Olympics, a feat not equalled by a British oarsman.  These golds came in the coxless pairs and the coxless fours, where he was a late substitute.  He won two golds at he 1930 Empire Games and at the 1931 Henley Regatta won three titles in one afternoon.  He rowed in the boat race for Oxford and later went on to be a successful coach for the University.


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Jonty Parkin (Rugby League) (pictured above on the right) – an outstanding scrum-half who was the first British player to take part in three tours to Australasia.  He won 17 Great Britain caps over ten years and was captain 11 times on the tours of 1924 and 1928.  On that 1928 tour he was injured for much of it but was still credited with playing a significant role in inspiring Britain’s surprise victory in the series.  He played for Wakefield for 17 years and then asked for a transfer.  The club put an extreme price on him hoping that he would be unaffordable but he paid the fee himself so he could sign for Hull KR.  This led to a change in the rules preventing players doing this.


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2 Responses to British Sports Hall of Fame 1932: Woolf Barnato, David Burghley, Jumbo Edwards and Jonty Parkin

  1. Gavin says:

    Thanks for this. Hugh ‘Jumbo’ Edwards is my wife’s grandfather (he passed away in 1972) and he went on to be a highly influential coach for Oxford. He was also a Wing Commander in the RAF and survived being shot down by rowing 4 miles through a mine field prior to rescuing.

  2. rob23notts42 says:

    Thanks for the feedback Gavin. On reading about his achievements there wasn’t much doubt that I would include “Jumbo” in my choices. I hope that I can bring a little more recognition, however small, to some of these largely forgotten names from the past.

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